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Broaders, Bennett help Yarmouth to Maritime junior A league title; others playing in league finals this week
A couple of Newfoundlanders earned titles as 2018-19 hockey champions over the Easter long weekend. A few others continue their quests to join their ranks this week.
The already declared champions are Brent Broaders of Tilting, Fogo Island and Zachery Bennett of Bay Roberts, members of the Yarmouth Mariners, who claimed the Maritime Hockey League championship on Good Friday by defeating the Campbellton Tigers 7-6 in overtime and completing a sweep of the junior A circuit’s best-of-seven final.
The 19-year-old Broaders, a second-year forward, had nine goals and seven assists in Yarmouth’s 14-game run through the playoffs, while Bennett, an 18-year-old defenceman with a goal and an assist this post-season, got to raise a championship trophy for a second straight year. Last season, he was a member of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, who took the Presidents Cup in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before going on to win the Memorial Cup as the best team in all of major junior hockey.
Yarmouth’s win also ended the championship hopes of three other players from this province — goaltender Tristan Gray of Bonavista and forwards Dylan Coffey of St. John’s and Kyle Petten of Coley’s Point — were all members of the Tigers.
There are three other Newfoundlanders playing for titles in finals in other leagues this week. Stephenville native George Young and the Hearst Lumberjacks had an opportunity to capture the Northern Ontario junior A crown Monday night, but fell 2-0 to the the Soo Thunderbirds. Game seven is set for Wednesday night.
In Europe, forward Luke Adam of Kilbride has helped Adler Mannheim (Mannheim Eagles) into the DEL (German Elite League) final, where they lead Red Bull Munich 2-1. And defenceman Alex Wall of St. John’s is with the Vienna Capitals, who trail KAC 3-2 in the best-of-seven championship final of Austria’s top league.
Both those series resume Wednesday night.
It’s not a league title, but another player from Newfoundland is chasing a championship this week.
That’s 18-year-old centre Alex Newhook of St. John's, who is with Canada’s entry at the IIHF world under-18 championship in Sweden, where he has three goals, three assists and a plus-three rating in three games — all Canadian victories.
Canada takes on the Czech Republic today.
Newhook had two goals and an assist in Canada’s latest game, an 11-1 shellacking of Belarus, a team that had given the Canadians a scare on a pre-tournament exhibition game that saw Belarus lose 6-5 in overtime.
Newhook had scored the extra-time winner in that exhibition contest, but was much happier to contribute in a more comfortable victory in a game that really counted.
“I try to have the same effort every night,” Newhook told Lucas Aykroyd for a story on the IIHF website. “But having that effort against Belarus earlier and knowing we can be successful if we work hard and stick to our game plan was big. We definitely wanted to get back at them for having a close game against us in exhibition.”
This will be Newhook’s last competition before June’s National Hockey League Entry Draft in Vancouver, where he is seen as a likely first-round draft choice. The Boston College-bound Newhook, who was the British Columbia Hockey League’s 2018-19 top scorer and MVP, is rated 13th among North American forwards and defencemen for the draft.
It won’t be long before there is only one Newfoundlander left in the chase for the 2019 QMJHL crown.
It will either be Dawson Mercer of Bay Roberts or Joel Bishop of St. John’s, forwards with the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Halifax Mooseheads, teams that are squaring off in a best-of-seven league semifinal that is tied 1-1 and continues tonight in Halifax.
Mercer is on an eight-game playoff scoring streak, with two goals and nine assist in that stretch. In all, he has 14 points in a dozen playoff games and shares the team lead in post-season scoring.
Even if Bishop and the Mooseheads don’t get past the Voltigeurs, they’ll still be playing this spring as they will be the host team for this year’s Memorial Cup next month in Halifax.
The Halifax-Drummondville winner will face either the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies or Rimouski Oceanic, who are squaring off in the other Q semifinal. There are no players from this province on either the Huskies or Oceanic.
Joel Bishop is the younger brother of centre Clark Bishop, who was called up to the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday from the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers.
The Hurricanes, who faced elimination Monday night in Game 6 of their first-round series against the Washington Capitals but forced Game 7 with a 5-2 win, had been hit hard by injuries to their forwards in the first five games against the Capitals, leading to what has been a familiar call for Bishop; it’s the sixth time he’s been promoted from the Checkers to the Hurricanes since last fall.
If Carolina’s season is done after Wednesday's Game 7, Bishop’s won’t be. The Checkers are involved in a first-round AHL Calder Cup playoff series against the Providence Bruins.